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Jail video being upgraded

July 31, 2018

Upgrades are being made to the Carrizales-Rucker Detention Center, but the Commissioners Court chief legal counsel said the changes aren’t related to a $1 million settlement reached in April over an inmate’s death.

Juan A. Gonzalez, chief attorney for the Cameron County Civil Legal Division, said the county is in the process of updating the jails video capabilities and has been “for some time now.” He referenced a system upgrade contract with San Antonio-based Argyle Security Inc. that went before county commissioners in December 2016.

The proposed total price on the contract was just over $878,000 and states, “Your new system will have 142 new IP cameras … with 60 days of storage, continuous recording 24/7.”

Fernando Longoria, 29, died in January 2015 while in solitary confinement at the jail whole serving a 10-day sentence for a DWI charge. Jailers placed him in a padded cell rather than call an ambulance after he suffered seizures, according to the lawsuit brought against the county on behalf of his three children, and the camera focused on the Longoria’s cell stopped working eight hours before he died.

Another complaint stated in the lawsuit against Cameron County was that “no video record exists of the critical last hours of Fernando’s life and of whether jailers and nurses were complying with their required observations.”

“One of the things that applied in that case was that some video had not been preserved…” Gonzalez said. “Any time we have an issue with our facility … we’re going to talk about doing things in a better way.”

He added that the county is making improvements “without admitting we’ve done anything wrong in the past.”

nadia@brownsvilleherald.com

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com

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